How to Attract and Keep Subscribers
An email marketing campaign isn't about the newsletter, but about the mailing list. That’s something we all learn pretty quickly once the campaign gets underway.
Email subscribers are a valuable bunch. Unlike the one-time-only visitors to your site, subscribers are the ones who keep returning, referring, and most importantly, engaging on an on-going basis. It's that kind of traffic that’s more easily converted. Once you've got subscribers, the trick is to keep them, and get them to interact.
There are countless ways to get people to sign up to your mailing list, and email marketers are becoming increasingly creative in finding more ways to do so. Here are a few ideas:
If you want people to sign up for your mailing list, they need to be able to find your subscription form. Your subscription form should be prominently placed on your home page, and ideally on at least a few other pages of your website. Try to keep the sign-up process short and simple.
Leverage your social following to get more subscribers. You can add a subscription form for your newsletter on your Facebook page. While you're at it, remember to occasionally call out that you have a newsletter through your social accounts, like Facebook and Twitter, and post sign-up links to your newsletter.
Adding social share (share with your network) buttons to your email is also a great way to spread the word about your newsletter. These allow your subscribers to post links to your newsletter on their social networks. As we all know by now, people are much more likely to sign up to something that’s been recommended by their peers rather than “because the marketer said so.”
The easiest way to make existing clients or customers aware of your newsletter, is to advertise it in your store or office. Place a sign-up sheet at your checkout or reception area. Remember to also follow the double opt-in process for in-store sign-ups. The first email you send them should include a verification link. For example, “The last time you visited us you signed up to our mailing list. To verify your email address, please click on this link.”
If you get good feedback on your newsletters, use these testimonials as a drawing card to convince more people to sign up. Include them in your sign-up form, or social posts.
When or wherever you give people the option of signing up, remember to also let them know why they should give you their email address. Stipulate what your emails will offer; be it news updates, tips, advice, promotions or notifications of new stock.
How do you get subscribers to engage? Congratulations, they already have by signing up to your list. People who have signed up to your mailing list have not only clearly indicated an interest in your business or product, but has also shown trust in your brand (at least more than someone who has not interacted with your brand in any way). Submitting an email address is the first engagement on the part of the subscriber.
Ask yourself, why did they engage? Because you promised them something. Think about what your newsletter is offering. Once you know why they’re signing up, you’ll know what to deliver, i.e. what content is likely to be most successful. If you’re offering tips and advice, but continuously delivering news updates and discounts instead, you risk subscribers losing interest.
We respond best to newsletters that have a personality or offer something of interest to read. Think about what your brand’s strengths are. After all, these are the reasons your clients support you and what resonated with your target audience. Make sure that your emails play on these strengths.
Engagement is not a one-sided process. Find ways to involve your readers in your campaign. A good tactic is linking your newsletter articles through to your company blog, where subscribers can post comments and actively participate in the conversation.
As a campaign matures, you very often find readers aren't as engaged as they used to be and open and click-through rates drop. Have a re-engagement strategy in place. Whether it’s approaching them with a special offer, free download or a simple “we miss you” re-engage email.
A healthy mailing list is a campaign asset your campaign will continue to draw value from. An engaged subscriber, well, that’s gold.
Related story: 4 Things I Learned at The Email Evolution Conference